We Americans love lots of things. We love to fall in love, we love to get married, we “love” to get divorced, and we love to move. Almost all of us fall in love (at the very least with our pets), almost all of us get married, almost half of us who get married get divorced, and almost half of us born in one state end up living in another. When our country was formed none of this was true. Marriage was near universal, divorce was unheard of, and most people stayed put.
State rights, one of our nation’s founding principles, made sense back then. It makes far less sense today. But your state of residence determines all kinds of things. These include the penalties for crimes you commit, how much you pay in taxes, how much you can collect in welfare, what you can leave your children when you die, where you can buy beer, whether you can smoke pot, whether you can readily get an abortion, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest issues some married couples face when they move across state lines is how they will fare if they get divorced. (And, again, almost half will untie the knot.) The answer may be far better or far worse depending on the state and even the county in which you reside. I say “may,” because if you reach an amicable settlement, that settlement may be legally approved no matter where you live. But if you have a contested divorce and end up leaving it up to a judge, she’ll likely apply state or county guidelines that can be very different depending on the state or country. Indeed, since only a few states and counties in the country have formal guidelines, the guidelines are mostly those set by the local judge. These judges are, of course, influenced primarily by what other judges in their locality and state are doing.
Why ‘brutal’ divorce laws must change in DurandWESTEND61 VIA GETTY IMAGES This is a question I often hear from friends, co-workers and those who come to me for guidance and support as they navigate through separation, divorce and co-parenting challenges. Although every person's personal and legal predicaments are unique, there are several essential points to carefully consider before making the decision to fire your divorce attorney or not. 1. Exactly how far along are you into the legal process? Many times I talk with people who remember struggling to come up with enough funds to pay a large up-front financial retainer and signing an agreement to hire a divorce attorney. Then I discover that they have no clear idea about what is actually going on in their case at the current moment. Since divorce cases often meander along tediously slowly while everyone waits for several months for the next scheduled court date, many people simply assume that their attorney is staying on top of the process and that there is no need to check in frequently. However, during the time I worked as a paralegal in a city-wide firm that specialized in Family Law, I often noticed that many divorce attorneys have such heavy client caseloads that they find themselves constantly on the run from courthouse to courthouse putting out immediate fires. Are you sure about what exactly has been filed with the court so far? What approach is your attorney taking in terms of speeding things up or trying to slow them down? Do you understand and agree with the actions they have taken so far to confidently represent you when dealing with opposing counsel and the judge? Knowledge is power and not understanding and knowing what is or is not going on as your divorce unfolds is critical when it comes to getting your best possible outcome. 2. Are you satisfied with the ways that your divorce attorney communicates with you? Do they lapse into legalese so often that you can't understand what they are really saying? Are you able to reach your attorney the same day if you need immediate legal advice? Will your divorce attorney promptly respond to your emails and phone calls or do they regularly ask their legal staff to respond instead? Are you able to reach your attorney's cell phone if you find yourself in a heated parenting disagreement that has flared up on a holiday or a weekend? 3. Do you trust what your gut is telling you? Making a sound decision about if and when to cut your losses and move forward when you are deciding whether to change divorce attorneys is extremely difficult when you have already invested a great deal of your time, emotional energy and substantial sums of money with your current attorney. Since many people going through divorce are emotionally exhausted, emotions often cloud what should be a carefully considered business judgment. Although you may not realize it, divorce is usually the biggest business deal of your entire life. If you reach the decision that your interests will be protected best by changing to another divorce attorney, be sure to do your research up front to figure out your new attorney's particular strengths and weaknesses and how these could impact your case. Is the new attorney you are considering a specialist in mediation or a highly competitive and cut-throat litigator? Do they frequently represent clients in front of the same judge you will be seeing? How often have they been up against the opposing counsel in cases similar to yours? Once you have made the decision to move ahead, don't let the practical matters hold you back. It's usually easiest to go ahead and hire a new divorce attorney and then the new attorney will soon enter a motion with the court to represent you. Your previous attorney will file a motion to remove themselves from your case and your new attorney can ask to have all of your legal case records copied and then sent to their office by courier. Or you may choose to ask for copies and deliver them yourself. It's also critical to ask for a detailed final billing that outlines all previous legal and office related charges and be sure that any retainer monies that haven't already been spent get refunded to you in a timely way. Regardless of when you decide to replace your current divorce attorney with a new one, the new attorney will still need time to get up to speed on what's been going on and review the discovery evidence and documents that have already been filed. Despite the hassle factors involved, moving forward through divorce with a new attorney may be just what you need to get what you really deserve over the long run. Follow Nancy Kay on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nancykay7 Nancy Kay Divorce Strategist, Realtor, Manager of Chaos
5 Reasons That You Need a Divorce AttorneyTop Michigan License Restoration Attorney If you have a revoked license for multiple drunk driving offenses contact us at Law Offices of Barton Morris for the best chance to get it back. Barton Morris and his legal team are highly experienced in conducting the Driver License Appeal Division Hearings and are very successful. Attorney Morris and his team not only prepare you for the hearing but also assists you with the preparation of letters and the substance abuse evaluation. The key to success is proper preparation and meticulous review of all evidence to be submitted. If everything goes as planned, your license privileges can be restored in as little as 10 weeks. Understanding the Process The reason most people are not successful in obtaining their license the first time is because they do not understand the process and what is expected. They believe that they can do it without an experienced attorney, then they have to wait a full year when they get denied. The ONLY way to ensure success is to retain an attorney who thoroughly knows the process which greatly increases your likelihood for victory. Review and Determine Eligibility The process begins by reviewing your driving record, which we can obtain immediately in the office, and determine your eligibility and conviction history. At this time, we will also engage in an extensive review of your personal history and provide a detailed overview of the process. Substance Abuse Evaluation You will be referred to the appropriate substance abuse evaluator for an evaluation and drug test. Once the evaluation is completed, we review it for accuracy and completeness with you prior to submission to the state. After submission it takes an average of six weeks to receive the hearing date. During that six weeks we assist the client in development and preparation and review of the required three to four letters from close friends and family documenting sobriety. Hearing Preparation Prior to the hearing we meticulously prepare the client with a mock hearing where we review all anticipated questions and ensure the client knows exactly what to expect. This includes questions that are particular to each of the hearing officers all of whom we are very familiar with and know what they individually are looking for. During the hearing we will conduct the examination and presentation of the evidence. We also handle any follow up investigations or evidence submission. Next Steps After Approval After your license is approved, if a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device is required, we will assist you in procuring this device at the best cost available. 93% Success Rate in 2016 If you’ve recently been denied your license, call the Law Offices of Barton Morris as soon as possible. Attorney Morris and his experienced legal team has a high probability to win this case on appeal or at least get you an earlier hearing date. Commonly Asked Questions DOES A PERSON NEED A LAWYER FOR A LICENSE RESTORATION? DOES A PETITIONER NEED TO ATTEND AA? HOW DO WE ACHIEVE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF SUCCESS? WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD SUBSTANCE USE EVALUATION? WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE LETTERS OF SUPPORT? Helpful Resources To visit the State of Michigan’s website regarding license restoration.